An Encouraging Look at Missouri’s Primary Numbers

In the twentieth century, no state better predicted the outcome of a presidential election than Missouri. Only once -- oddly enough in 1956 -- did Missouri voters not vote for the man who would be elected president. Although the state has been drifting right in recent years, it still has a Democratic senator and governor.

So the outcome of Tuesday’s primary still has some predictive power. In two highly contested races, Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump each prevailed by less than one-half a percentage point. 

The Democratic secretary of state and U.S. Senate challenger, Jason Kander, proudly announced that voter turnout was a record 38.86 percent. Not surprisingly, he did not say which party was responsible for that record. In fact, 60 percent of the voters voted Republican. That is a margin of 300,000 in a turnout of 1.5 million. Trump and Cruz each received 70,000 more votes than Hillary Clinton.

There is good news in these numbers for both Trump and Cruz. If Cruz had taken 52 percent of the vote that had gone to candidates other than him and Trump -- and that seems highly likely -- he would have won the primary. In fact, if 53 percent of those who voted for Marco Rubio had voted for Cruz, that would have been margin enough to win.

For Trump, if every Democrat who turned out Tuesday voted for Hillary in the general election, he would need to capture only 44 percent of the Republicans who voted against him to carry Missouri in the general election. For sure, some of those anti-Trump Republicans will not vote at all, but only a tiny fraction would actually vote for Hillary.

As Missourian Harry Truman proved true for the ages, elections are not won at polls. They are won at the ballot box.

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